By Lee Keller
Sr. Business Consultant
Change is something everyone has to deal with. Some of it’s good, some bad, but either way, we all face change every day.
But if you’re running a small manufacturing company, managing change can be especially challenging. New government regulations, changes in the supply chain, downward pressure on prices from customers, upward pressure from shareholders—and more—put constant pressure on every provider.
What’s more, change management is even more difficult for smaller companies whose resources are already stretched to the limit. New developments often require new resources, both financial and in terms of manpower.
Nevertheless, if you’re responsible for leading and driving the growth of your organization, you’re the one who must steer your company through the choppy waters of change. You can respond by:
- Procrastinating and hoping it will go away
- Fearing what the change will mean for you and your company
- Hitting it head on and managing change from a strategic perspective
Five Ways to Approach Change Management Successfully
Of course, the strategic management approach is best for everyone.
Effective change management doesn’t happen by chance. It’s a proactive process that requires planning, implementation, management and ongoing feedback company-wide, and sometimes even outside of your own internal operations.
So what does all this mean in terms of the steps you should take? To stay on top of change you must:
- Identify the source of the change. If you don’t know what’s coming, you also won’t know what hit you. If, for example, the change is a regulatory mandate, you need to know what it requires well in advance of the deadline. The same is true for market-driven changes. You don’t want to find out what the market wants after the fact. Identifying trends beforehand is essential in a strategic change-management approach.
- Understand how the change will impact each area under your direction. Analyze what steps must be taken and who will be affected. Your change-management plan should take all stakeholders into account, including customers, potential customers, competitors and others beyond the walls of your company.
- Mobilize your team to address possible outcomes. A team approach early-on gets everyone involved and sets the groundwork for accountability at each level.
- Make recommendations that will mitigate losses and maximize profitability. Change may be difficult, but in the long run, it can also be good. Know what you steps you should take to empower the benefits and minimize the problems the upcoming changes will bring.
- Invest in tools to optimize your change-management decisions. Managing change successfully doesn’t mean you have to do it all on your own. Software tools can provide with data monitor and evaluate the impact your changes have made on the organization. By having the data you need at your fingertips, you not only save time, you’ll also gain the insight to fuel—and optimize—your management decisions.